Woman swims in Lake Ontario every day for a year

Kathleen McDonnell

While many of us are just starting to think about our first dip in the lake, April 25th marked one woman’s 365th consecutive day in Lake Ontario.

Kathleen McDonnell, who lives on Toronto’s Ward’s Island, went for a swim every day for the past year—rain or shine, open water or ice cover.

It might sound crazy to some, but McDonnell told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning that she truly enjoys it.

“It makes me feel vigorous and young. As I get older it’s one of those things I think really helps me manage life,” she said.

McDonnell has lived on the island for 30 years, and has always been a big swimmer. In past years, she says she would stop swimming in November, which is still significantly later than most would call it quits. But last year, she decided to push on and swim straight through winter.

Southern Ontario did experience a milder winter than years prior, but it wasn’t exactly balmy. On the coldest of days, when ice formed around the island’s shores, she got in the water by punching her way through the ice. She was motivated, sure, but she wasn’t always enthusiastic about it.

“There were days that were hard just because the weather was so miserable,” she told CBC. “If it was raining and windy all day, I would just find a chunk of that day when I felt ‘Okay, I can do this.’”

If you’re wondering why, the answer is simple: because she could.

“I’m lucky to be in a place where I can get in the water whenever I want.”